Proverbs 4:1-9 (NKJV) Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. 6 Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you. 7 Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. 8 Exalt her, and she will promote you; She will bring you honor, when you embrace her. 9 She will place on your head an ornament of grace; A crown of glory she will deliver to you.”
In this passage we have an example of Hebrew parallelism, where one thought is contained in another. To get wisdom is essentially to gain understanding, and vise versa. Wisdom will give us the ability to understand the complexity of situations we may encounter along life’s path, so we can choose the right way.
Wisdom will guard the believer from calamity. Wisdom will keep us from making foolish choices that can cause us much trouble. When we embrace wisdom we will avoid the pitfalls that so often befall those who lack this virtue.
In the context of this passage we hear the words of a father to his son, as he admonishes him to acquire this essential element for life. While wisdom is acquired from the hand of God, it is also bestowed through learning from others who have gone before us. The great thing about this is that we can avoid the mistakes they made if we will learn to listen to their advice, and observe their lives.
Wisdom can be gained through life’s experiences. Someone has said, “Life is a great school, but the tuition is awfully high.” Rather than experiencing the same pain of trial and error, we can learn from the mistakes of others. This is one of the problems with youth culture in the West today. Because of the breakdown of the family young people are not gaining the wisdom that they need to deal with life’s problems from adults. Most youth acquire nearly all of their advice from their peers. Youth simply do not have enough real life experience to give wise advice to one another.
The following passage instructs us that older men and women of God are to instruct the younger in right living, by example, and by word.
Titus 1:1-6 (Amplified Bible) But [as for] you, teach what is fitting and becoming to sound (wholesome) doctrine [the character and right living that identify true Christians]. 2 Urge the older men to be temperate, venerable (serious), sensible, self-controlled, and sound in the faith, in the love, and in the steadfastness and patience [of Christ]. 3 Bid the older women similarly to be reverent and devout in their deportment as becomes those engaged in sacred service, not slanderers or slaves to drink. They are to give good counsel and be teachers of what is right and noble, 4 So that they will wisely train the young women to be [a]sane and sober of mind (temperate, disciplined) and to love their husbands and their children, 5 To be self-controlled, chaste, homemakers, good-natured (kindhearted), adapting and subordinating themselves to their husbands, that the word of God may not be exposed to reproach (blasphemed or discredited). 6 In a similar way, urge the younger men to be self-restrained and to behave prudently [taking life seriously].